How to Apply

Sports MBA Admissions

Thank you for your interest in this unique graduate business program. We encourage you to explore this site extensively to learn more about the program's accelerated 18-month schedule which starts every January.

On this site you will find all the information you need about the Sports MBA curriculum, program schedule, admissions, requirements for international students, our dedicated network of alumni and the opportunities our students enjoy living in San Diego. If you have any questions left after exploring the site or if you would like to speak with a current student, alumni or staff, please contact us at smbainfo@sdsu.edu.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are evaluated on the basis of prior academic and professional accomplishments, educational and career goals, and potential for advancement in the competitive sports business industry.

  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher in the last 60 semester units (90 quarter units) of undergraduate work (absolute minimum undergraduate GPA for graduate students at SDSU is 2.85)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Professional Résumé
  • Personal Statement
  • Slideshow Presentation or Video
  • Sports MBA Alumni & Program Director Interview
  • Official GMAT/GRE Score Report (the GMAT/GRE cannot be waived under any circumstances)

Prospective students should understand that the Sports MBA curriculum is largely based on quantitative classes (such as Statistics, Accounting, and Finance) and their application within the modern sports business industry.

  • An undergraduate background in a quantitative discipline is favorable, but not required
  • Applicants from all undergraduate disciplines are eligible for admission to the program
  • Sports MBA students will be expected to have a college-level understanding of Mathematics
 

Previous work experience after college is highly recommended, but not required for admission to the Sports MBA program.

  • Work experience in any form (internship or full-time) within the sports industry is favorable, but not required. A number of our students each year come to the program to gain experience and enter the sports industry from a wide variety of industries.
  • The SDSU Sports MBA program will strongly consider granting admission to a select few applicants with little professional experience who have recently received their undergraduate degree. A competitive candidate with little post-college work experience must have substantial internship/work experience during his/her college career in addition to an exemplary academic record and a competitive GMAT score.

The Sports MBA program is a cohort of around 30 students who work together to enhance their collective experience both inside and outside of the classroom. Each year, a new class joins a closely connected group of alumni who are personally and professionally invested in every graduating cohort. While in the program, students enhance their résumés and the reputation of SDSU Sports MBA by coordinating class events, volunteering with local sports properties, and building their respective professional networks. We look to bring in a diverse group of students who embrace the challenge of gaining sports contacts and experience through these channels while concurrently completing an intensive graduate business program.

An important part of the application procedure is an alumni interview with someone who has gone through this experience and can help prospective students understand the challenge and the opportunity presented by the Sports MBA program. A prospective student can use this interview to express himself/herself in person and explain more about his or her background and application. The interview, either in person or via webcam, is also a great chance for applicants to ask specific questions of a program graduate and connect with a mentor as they enter into a new class of Sports MBA students.

The application period for our next cohort, beginning classes in January 2018 is open from August 1st–November 1st, 2017. Though we cannot accept applications through the CSU system website until August 1st, we understand that many competing programs have a fall semester start and some prospective students need an admissions decision from us earlier in the calendar year. SDSU Sports MBA offers Early Action admissions decisions for prospective students who have completed their research and are confident that SDSU is their first choice. Please inquire with the department for details.

Please see below for the steps you will need to take in order to apply.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact our office at (619) 594-5566 or smbainfo@sdsu.edu.

Complete an application for Graduate Admission with the California State University system online at Cal State Apply from August 1st, 2017 to November 1st, 2017. 

To apply to the Sports MBA program, you must first register with the California State University system, of which we are part, through the CAL State Apply online portal. This is the first step in the application process, and should be completed prior to sending any supporting documents or materials. Please register through CAL State Apply as soon as possible, this creates an applicant profile for you with the SDSU Office of Graduate Admissions and allows you to proceed with the rest of the Sports MBA application.

Payment

The application for Graduate Admissions includes a nonrefundable $55 application fee. Payment of the application fee is by credit card or check/money order. Using the credit card method will expedite the processing of your application. SDSU must receive payment before your application will be reviewed. The application fee is nonrefundable and may not be transferred to another term. When completing the application, be sure to give your full legal name and avoid abbreviations.

Major

Under "Major/Program Objective" select Business Administration: Sports Business Management (MBA) - External Degree. The term "external degree" designates that the Sports MBA program is a self-support program on a special sessions schedule.

GMAT

It is required that the GMAT be taken prior to the November 1st, 2017 application deadline, but please do not wait to complete the online process until you have taken the test. It is best to get your name in the system now.

Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose is not needed to complete the CAL State Apply online application. When you input your information in, please do not submit a personal statement when the website prompts you to do so, instead please indicate that you will be submitting the personal statement electronically. A statement of purpose specific to the Sports MBA program will be emailed to you after you have completed the CAL State Apply application and your profile is created with SDSU Graduate Admissions.

Supporting documents may be submitted any time after your CAL State Apply application, but all documents should be submitted as soon as possible in order for the application to be considered for the cohort beginning in 2018.

  1. Request a transcript for each school where you took classes during your undergraduate career, including study abroad, and any transfer credits. Only one official transcript from EACH college and university listed on your application needs to be sent to SDSU. Official transcripts must be sent directly to:

    Sports Business Management MBA
    Fowler College of Business Administration
    San Diego State University
    5500 Campanile Drive
    San Diego, CA 92182-8232

  2. Print TWO confidential recommendation forms. At least one of your letters of recommendation should come from your immediate supervisor.

    Download the SMBA Confidential Recommendation Form

    Note: although the confidential recommendation form is preferred, a recommendation letter without the attached form is acceptable if there are extenuating circumstances.

  3. Register for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) by visiting the GMAT Home Page or calling (800) GMAT NOW. Please be sure to use the correct SDSU institutional code 9LT-2P-45 on your GMAT registration form. The Computer Adaptive GMAT is administered by Pearson VUE at test centers throughout the world. Results will automatically be submitted to the Specialized & International Programs office.

    The San Diego State University College of Extended Studies offers GMAT Prep Sessions for a total cost of $450, including materials. For more information on this prep course, please call the College of Extended Studies at (619) 594-5152 or visit www.ces.sdsu.edu.

    GMAT examination must be taken by November 1, 2017 for students applying for the Sports Business Management MBA program January 2018 cohort. Please be sure to list San Diego State University as a test recipient SDSU Institutional Code 9LT-2P-45.

  4. Submit a professional résumé.

Please submit the official transcript, resume, letters of recommendation, GMAT results (and TOEFL results, if applicable) to:

Sports Business Management MBA
Fowler College of Business Administration
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-8232

 

After completing your CAL State Apply application (Part I) and submitting your application's supporting documents (Part II), our office will contact you a prompt for completing both the statement of purpose and a brief PowerPoint assignment that will prepare you for the Sports MBA Alumni Admissions Interview.

You will be paired with an alumnus/alumna in your geographic area, as a face-to-face interview is preferred. Applicants living in cities without any SDSU Sports MBA alumni may travel to a nearby city to interview with an alumnus/alumna, travel to San Diego for the interview, or set up a webcam interview via Skype. In past years, most international students have conducted their admissions interviews via Skype appointment.

International students are highly encouraged to apply to the Sports MBA program at San Diego State University. The Sports MBA curriculum is globally focused, with classroom discussions, case studies, and guest lecturers frequently covering all areas of international sport. Over the past four years, international students have averaged over twenty percent of the cohort, one of the highest percentages of international students for any sports management program in the U.S.

A number of our international graduates have achieved significant success in the sports industry, either returning to their home countries or remaining in the United States and working for a domestic sports organization.

There are a few additional steps that international applicants must take with the Office of Graduate Admissions in order to be admitted to SDSU's Sports MBA program, and our staff is happy to work with international applicants to assist with the application. Please contact 619-594-5566 or smbainfo@sdsu.edu if you require additional instructions.

We realize the differences in language, application procedures and school systems international students face and therefore we are happy to assist international students with any questions or difficulties they might have regarding the program and its application process. Please read this website extensively and email us with any questions at smbainfo@sdsu.edu. If necessary, we can set up a either a voice or video Skype appointment for a smoother communication process once the application period has begun. You may also want to check the website of the International Student Center from San Diego State University. They are happy to assist you with questions about your visa, finances, housing and other concerns you may have. Their website is http://www.isc.sdsu.edu/.

The application for international students differs slightly from the domestic application. Please contact our office and we will work with you to satisfy this requirement. There are a few additional steps that international applicants must take with the Office of Graduate Admissions in order to be admitted to SDSU's Sports MBA program, which are explained below.

  1. International students will need to follow the steps to apply for the sports MBA program listed under Apply.
  2. In addition to the application steps for domestic applicants, international students need to submit the following documents:
As an international applicant, you must hold the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor's degree with 3.0 GPA or "B" average. The eligible degrees and required documents for your country are listed on the SDSU Graduate Admissions: Requirements by Country page. You must submit original, official academic records issued in English by your institution. If your academic records are not issued in English, a certified English translation must be provided. If your country is not listed, please contact Graduate Admissions for instructions.
If undergraduate education was in a language other than English, students must submit a TOEFL test score in addition to all of the above documents. The minimum TOEFL scores are 550 (paper-based), or 80 (Internet based).

Admitted international students requiring an F-1 student visa must submit the SDSU Financial Statement Form and supporting financial documents to provide evidence of funding for one academic year. Financial documents must be approved by the Office of Admissions in order to receive the I-20, which is needed to apply for a student visa.

Financial Statement Form (pdf)

Please note that the Sports MBA program starts every Spring semester (January). We currently do not offer Fall semester admissions.

Applications for the cohort beginning January 2018 are accepted from August 1st–November 1st, 2017.

International applicants are highly encouraged to complete and submit all application materials as soon as possible to allow additional time for the Office of Graduate Admissions to review international transcripts and other supporting documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I apply for admission?

A: Please visit our Admission Requirements section for detailed application procedures.

Q: How many applicants are admitted to the program in each admissions cycle?

A: We seek to select a cohort of 30 students each year.

Q: What is the official admissions period?

A: The SDSU Sports MBA program starts in mid-January each year (Spring semester). The official window in which applications are accepted is August 1st through November 1st. For international applicants, we recommend that all materials be submitted by October 1st.

Q: Is it possible to apply earlier than August 1st?

A: Yes. Though we cannot accept applications through the CSU system website until August 1st, we understand that many competing programs have a fall semester start and some prospective students need an admissions decision from us earlier in the calendar year. SDSU Sports MBA offers Early Action admissions decisions for prospective students who have completed their research and are confident that SDSU is their first choice. Please inquire with the department for details.

Q: Will you accept the GRE in place of the GMAT?

A: Although the GMAT examination is strongly preferred, we will also accept equivalent GRE scores in lieu of the GMAT. One or the other is required, and a standardized test score will not be waived under any circumstances.

Q: Do I need to submit a TOEFL score?

A: International applicants who have not completed three years of full-time study at the secondary or post-secondary level where English was the language of instruction must score at least 550 (paper-based), or 80 (Internet based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Q: How much are the tuition and fees for this program?

A: Program fees for the Sports Business Management MBA Program cover the costs of your tuition, orientation, team building activities, graduation fees and regalia, SDSU student parking permit or annual trolley pass, SDSU student ID card, guest speaker series and student health services. (See the Program Fees section.)

Q: What is included in the tuition and fees for this program?

A: Program fees for the Sports Business Management MBA Program cover the costs of your tuition, orientation, team building activities, international excursion, graduation fees and regalia, SDSU student parking permit or annual trolley pass, SDSU student ID card, guest speaker series and student health services.

Q: What is NOT included in the tuition and fees?

A: The tuition and fees expense does not include books and required course materials, housing, transportation, relocation expenses and other personal expenses not listed above.

Q: How is the program structured?

A: Our program is designed to be completed in 18 months. In the first 12 months students complete their academic coursework. In January of the following year students begin their six month internships.

Q: What is the difference between a Sports MBA and regular MBA?

A: Sports MBA programs incorporate the standard MBA curriculum and also integrate sports-related themes into each course. Cases, class discussions, presentations and guest speakers are all focused on preparing you for a career in the sports industry.

Q: What are the advantages of a Sports MBA versus a Sport Management Masters?

A: One distinct advantage is the universal appeal of an MBA. The MBA curriculum is one that is applicable to virtually any industry and will benefit you throughout your career.

Q: Can I speak with a current student or alumnus to discuss the program?

A: If you would like to speak with a student currently pursuing the Sports MBA degree, or an alumnus/alumna of the program currently working in the sports industry, please email smbainfo@sdsu.edu and we will happily facilitate communication with the appropriate contact.

Q: Is the Sports MBA program accredited?

A: Yes. In fact we are the only Sports MBA in California fully accredited by the AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).

Q: Where can I follow the latest developments the sports MBA program?

A: You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter and the Sports MBA blog.